Vice-President Saulos Chilima has appealed for calm among UTM Party members on possible electoral alliances ahead of the fresh election the Constitutional Court ordered on February 3 after nullifying the May 21 2019 presidential election.
The UTM Party president, who was the first petitioner in the presidential election nullification petition case, spoke at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe in Sunday where he addressed his first rally since the five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court decided the case.
He said: “In order for us to get 50+1 percent of the votes, we need to have strategic people. An alliance is necessary, but we need to know who to make an alliance with to achieve the 50+1.
“It’s easy to form or gent into an alliance, but we also need to identify our goals and objectives in that alliance.
“Whatever decision we make, whether going into an alliance or not, it should be in the best interest of Malawi. We are discussing with others and at an appropriate time we will update you.”
His sentiments came amid social media speculation that he will partner Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who was the second petitioner in the elections case, in the fresh election to be held within 100 days from February 3.
Political analysts have hinted that parties will only attain the 50 +1 through electoral alliances.
In wrapping up his speech, Chilima, who fell out with President Peter Mutharika in early 2018 and has since then been the country’s estranged Vice-President, used the podium to deliver a message to his boss that hunger is biting people hard, public hospitals lack essential drugs and that corruption is deep rotted in government.
The Vice-President said he would raise the issues with the President if he gets a chance to meet Mutharika.
In his address, Chilima also said he would use the UTM Party manifesto for the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections in which he promised to create one million jobs within the first year in office, establish mega farms in selected districts to boost agriculture, universal fertiliser subsidy to sell a 50 kilogramme bag at K4 495 instead of the current K20 000 for the same quantity, among others.
Chilima also condemned tribalism, saying people should be appointed to positions in the public sector on merit.
On a lighter note, UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati told the gathering that the court judgement marked the dawn of a new chapter to Malawi politics as it offers an opportunity for Malawians to choose the leader of their choice through a clean ballot not altered ones.
She also encouraged eligible voters who did not register to register ahead of the election.
Two weeks ago Chakwera also held his first post-court judgement rally at Msundwe in Lilongwe.
At the start of the rally, the gathering observed a minute’s silence in honour of the soul of Malawi Police Mobile Service Superintendent Usuman Imedi who was stoned to death by irate residents of Msundwe on the outskirts of Lilongwe along the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road during a fracas last October.